Transportation pilot project saluted by planners
by The Press and Standard | September 14, 2018 5:00 pm
Last Updated: September 11, 2018 at 3:49 pm
Walterboro Works, the bus transportation pilot project that has operated in the city since last October, is receiving some national recognition.
Officials of the Lowcountry Council of Governments will travel to Charlotte for the National Association of Development Organizations’ 2018 Annual Training Conference. During that annual session, Lowcountry Council of Governments will be among the planning organizations receiving one of the organization’s Innovation Awards.
But receiving the award may be the last hurrah for Walterboro Works.
Last year, the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce had provided a $100,000 grant to underwrite the costs associated with putting the bus system in place for one year.
The goal of the grant was to provide new public transit services to either jobs or training. The bus service operates within the City of Walterboro and surrounding urbanized areas of Colleton County, linking residents with a wide variety of training and employment opportunities.
The service operates a brand-new 15-passenger bus six hours a day Monday through Friday, making two circuits during both the morning and afternoon commuting hours to key workforce destinations.
Those using the bus to attend vocational training programs or commuting to work at participating employers, rode free.
Other residents could use the bus for a $1 fare.
LCOG is attempting to secure additional funding from SCDEW to continue running the program a little while longer.
“The funding we had would have taken us up to October, but with potential additional funding from SCDEW, we will get through to at least December,” said Ginnie Kozak, planning director for the Lowcountry Council of Governments.
Kozak said the regional planning organization knew the program was a success, “but it is nice to get recognition from a national organization.”
LCOG’s Palmetto Breeze, the regional bus service, and its partners at Community Transportation Association, “have been pleasantly and positively, sort of, surprised by the ridership,” Kozak said. “I say ‘sort of’ because, speaking for myself, the research and planning work we did before launching the service showed that there was definitely a demand in the areas serviced by the routes.”